|Game: Castaway Paradise
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie, RPG, Simulation
Developer: Stolen Couch Games
Publisher: Stolen Couch Games
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating: 6/10
Level/Puzzle Design: N/A
Replay Value: 2/10
Castaway Paradise is sold as an RPG, but really, the only RPG element I see in it is the questing. I would compare it more closely with a social game or even a mobile game than any actual RPG. There’s no enemies, and no story beyond “You’ve washed up on the shore of this island and now you can help the people rebuild and make it your own home”.
The menu is lacking in the same way mobile and social games are, there’s no sliders for volume, just mute or unmute things, no windowed mode options, though alt+enter provides you a window the exact same size your resolution.
Starting the game, the music was decent, but repetitive. What sound effects there are are also rather typical of the kind of game. I also wasn’t completely sold on the graphical aspect of the characters, which is an undecidedly blocky 3D version of animals/humans, but I did like the aspect of the island/items/everything that wasn’t characters and clothes. The clothes designs were cute, but I still didn’t like the characters shape, which really ruined the looks of the otherwise cute designs.
On Castaway Paradise you can take quests from the villagers, farm crops, catch fish and bugs, shake trees, plant trees and flowers, cut trees, pick up weeds and trash to clean up the place, dust off cobwebs, upgrade buildings a couple times and decorate the island and your home, and then some I probably forget. There’s also a bank that will allow you to earn some extra money for using it, as well as a mini stocks market that’s not really too difficult to use at all. You can also unlock new spots to visit on the island, which isn’t overly large to begin with.
It’s all rather nice, and I appreciate that it has something more to do than just plant crops or just do quests, but it doesn’t feel terribly fulfilling until you start decorating the island and your house.
The crops and things you plant have a timer on them, as with all social games, which means you can’t play when ‘you’ want but have to wait around until the game decides the crops are ready.
Some of the tools have a ‘stamina’ meter, a certain amount of times you can use it per x time, that refills overtime. This goes away when you reach level 15 and become “VIP”, which was their way of removing the need for micro transactions. This also unlocks more shop items, cheaper items (“discount”) in the shop, etc.
The game does have something kind of addictive to it, and I did enjoy my playthrough, which is why I recommend it, but despite it, it ends up being boring and, at the risk of sounding redundant, repetitive. Why? Well…
Starting by the fact that the quests are all the same: plant x of this, pick y of that, take this to z, talk to w; rinse and repeat as there’s only so many characters. The rewards they give (xp, sometimes items and pieces to unlock new areas of the island, and gems/money) are not really worth the time. The money you make from them sometimes ends up being more than what you need for the quest – for instance: Decorate the island, where you have to place two chairs that are worth three times as much as the reward. Granted, you can pick up and resell if you only want to finish the quest, but you only get part of the money back.
The quests can also not be cancelled, at least not that I’ve seen, thus you’re stuck with either gathering enough money to buy the things they want you to get so you can finish the quest (or waiting however many hours for crops when you want to play NOW), or gathering enough money to pay off to “fast finish” the quest, which is also kind of expensive. Since you can’t really preview and accept or reject the quests, and since you can only have 3 going at a time, it gets really boring.
Planting and selling crops also doesn’t shield much money when you take into account some of the crops take 11+ real time hours to be ready… on stage 1. Some have more than 1 stage, though you can choose to pick them while they’re smaller rather than let them grow to its fullest.
Meanwhile, upgrading the buildings and purchasing things is quite pricey in comparison. It’s not impossible, but it’s kind of annoying. In the long term, it almost seems more worth it to stand by the stocks and wait for them than wait for crops and do quests, and neither turns out being overly fun after the first few rounds. Even catching bugs or fishing, which are the most interesting aspect, get tiresome.
There is a little annoying ‘bug’ that if I try for my character to go somewhere else while it’s running an animation, it will get “stuck” in that direction and when it stops doing the animation it will walk the way he was looking instead of the way I’m telling it to, but it’s hardly game breaking. I do, however, wish you could stack things to do (so do this, then water crops, then come over here kind of thing).
On the upside, the game has some free DLCs that add a bit of (shop) content, and they also run events. They have leaderboards for the collectables/bugs/fish you catch, and it is kind of a cute game, all things considered, but it is the kind of game you go onto for an hour or two and then get tired with.
Recommended: Yes if you like social games and don’t mind it being terribly repetitive after the first few quests (which I guess you don’t, if you like social games ).